EVALUATION – oral test - SB expert panels

If your proposal is eligible, you will be invited by the FWO in the second half of October to come and defend your application before a panel of experts.  The expert panels take place at the FWO, Egmontstraat 5, Brussels, in November and in the first week of December.

The ‘SB expert panels’ are composed by the FWO Board of Trustees, after grouping the applications by research theme. The panels are composed of international academics and experts engaged in research and development in industry.

An SB expert panel typically consists of 5 to 6 experts and evaluates typically 12 to 16 candidates. At least 2 panel members will thoroughly review your file and write a 'pre-report' on your project and its potential applications.

Each SB Expert panel is overseen by a representative of the FWO, who as moderator, also acts as session chair. He/she may be an FWO policy officer or an adviser of the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The complete FWO regulations for internal and external peer review can be found here . Especially Art. 12 and Chapter III, Par. 2, section "Decision process doctoral (PhD) grants strategic basic research" are relevant in this context. The guidelines for the panel members are detailed in the “Guide for SB expert panel members” (available soon).

Oral Defence

You start the oral test with a short presentation (max. 5 minutes). This elevator pitch allows you to proactively highlight the strengths of your application and to raise a number of discussion points.  This is followed by an interrogation by the panel members, who will seek to assess your qualities and basic knowledge as a PhD student, your project proposal and the potential applications.   After the oral test, the experts assign consensual scores to the various evaluation criteria.

The oral defence process is described in detail in the invitation.

Criteria and score grid

Based on the reading of the dossiers, the preliminary reports and the oral examination, each dossier is assigned consensual scores in relation to the evaluation criteria (candidate, project, potential applications).

  1. Potential ability to independently undertake doctoral research as an innovation-oriented researcher;

    • Potential ability as a doctoral researcher: reasoning abilities and critical mind, scientific knowledge and project insight.
    • Potential ability as a strategically thinking and innovation-oriented researcher.
  2. Scientific quality and relevance of the research project, and its feasibility within a period of four years;

    • Scientific quality, relevance and challenge, inventiveness and innovativeness.
    • Quality of the research approach and feasibility of the project.
  3. Strategic importance of the research project with regard to the long-term potential for innovative applications with economic added value.
    • Strategic importance of the research approach for the intended applications (relevance).
    • Strategic importance of the potential applications for possible users (impact).

The full scoring grid, as a tool for the expert, can be found here.